The theme for this weekend is hospitality to God. The first reading and the Gospel painted very beautifully the hospitality to God.
Andrei Rublev, the great Russian icon painter, famous for his work in particular with his ‘Old Testament Trinity’: picturing the three angels welcomed by Abraham (Genesis 18 – today’s first reading). Christians see this scene as a prefiguring of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. This icon is also called ‘Welcome to the Stranger’. The table where they are seated has four sides. There are three seated figures; the fourth is an invitation to join them. Anyone praying with this icon for any length of time will feel that the invitation is somehow mutual: as you welcome the Divine Persons into your heart, they are inviting you to sit at the table with them. They are inviting you into the heart of God.
In the first reading on a hot day, Abraham sits at the entrance. He might have been enjoying the breeze on that hot day. All of sudden he saw the three men and recognized that it is the Lord. Abraham begged God not to pass by, but stay, so he can serve the Lord. Then he ran to the tent to prepare food.
In the Gospel we see, Martha and Mary welcome Jesus to their house. Martha and Mary, both have different styles of hospitality. Mary sits with Jesus and listens, but Martha wants to make sure everything is right for him.
Two aspect of spirituality: first, doing something like Martha and second, siting and receiving like Mary. Martha has become a symbol of action-oriented, responsible people who get the job done. Our world and our parish churches need such dynamic and generous men, women, boys and girls who get the job done. At the same we have to adopt Mary into our life too. The key to the Christian life is SETTING PRIORITIES: Jesus Christ first, then everything else. Active and busy as we are, we have to find time every day to listen to God, to our spouse, kids and neighbors. Listening and quiet caring are essential for the success of pastoral life, married life, family life and the rearing of children with love, affection and sense of discipline. Human love begins at home and it begins with listening.
God is passing by my/your home. Do we invite him? My heart is the place where he is welcomed. Mother Teresa often talked about the God appears in disguise: poor and needy. We need to give attention to see who is passing by us. Abraham paid attention, so he didn’t miss the Lord.